‘Ridiculous’: Titanic museums mocked for having memorials for submarine expedition

Memorials held by former Titanic expedition member

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Monday 26 June 2023 20:07 BST
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Two memorials were held last week at Titanic museums across the US, in honour of the five people who died earlier this month on a submarine expedition to the famous ship wreck.

The services were held at Titanic museums in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri.

Both museums are owned by John Josyln, part of a team that explored the Titanic wreckage in a famous 1987 televised expedition.

Follow the latest updates on the missing Titanic submarine here.

Paul-Henri Nargeolet, one of the five victims who perished in the submarine, was also part of the 1987 voyage.

A former commander in the French navy, he was both a deep diver and a mine sweeper. After retiring from the navy, he led several Titanic expeditions, becoming a leading authority on the wreck site.

OceanGate, the company that built the doomed Titanic submarine, once described Mr Nargeolet as the “Titanic’s greatest explorer”.

The services featured wreaths and speeches in the rooms memorialising the more than 1,500 people who died in the 1912 disaster.

“Every day we pay tribute to the 2,208 passengers that were onboard the Titanic,” museum employee Jamie Terrell told KY3. “Their legacy will be their memory. We get to be the ambassadors for that and we take great honour in that. Today we’re adding five more names.”

Unsurprisingly, given the high volume of often-mocking commentary and memes about the failed expedition online, social media users lambasted the memorials as inappropriate.

“Imagine someone accidentally falling into the reflecting pool at the [World Trade Center] and drowning and getting added to the 9/11 memorial,” one commenter wrote on Twitter.

“The wrecked vessel is a reminder of a great tragedy that mostly involved low-middle class people, as rich passengers (even if mostly women and children) were undoubtedly favored to the rescue,” another added, calling a comparison between the original Titanic wreck and the submarine accident “beyond ridiculous.”

“Dumb billionaires surely don’t belong there, not even in my wildest dreams.”

British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, UK citizens Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood, French national Paul-Henri Nargeolet and OceanGate Expeditions chief executive Stockton Rush, were the five who died in the failed June expedition.

Rachel Sharp, Tara Cobham, and Jane Dalton contributed reporting to this story.

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